Everything about survival horror-sandbox-MMOs is supposed to be a red flag to me. Instead, I find it exhilarating. Zombies, real human players that want to rob you or help you - it’s like nothing I’ve played before (yes, I skipped DayZ). I think it’s the lonesome feeling of running through the wilderness for dozens of minutes combined with the few seconds of heart-racing action with other human players that has rocked my little gaming world. Thanks to the kind folks at Daybreak Games for providing a review key. I probably would not have purchased this game on my own and I’m so glad I’ve found a way to enjoy this genre.
What sold me is on the game as a whole happened in my first 10 minutes with it. I first spawned near a house that was open. I found really good starting gear: a bow, an axe and some scraps. I felt pretty confident to go out and slay zombies. I managed to kill one while taking minimal damage. That was not a good thing, in reality. It gave me even more confidence to press on away from the house that was my safety zone. I found a warehouse that had several cars surrounding it. While I was negotiating which items to keep and which to leave, off in the distance of my peripheral vision I saw what I initially thought was a zombie. As we got closer to each other I grew suspicious it was a human player. I hid behind a truck, but it was too late. He saw me. He approached my position and pulled out a handgun. I ran away but within 15 seconds I was dead. Shot in the back several times. I re-spawned with nothing, and I was sold. Later, I came upon a river and found new types of raw loot and discovered some much needed recipes. Again, I felt like I had arrived. “I have this down,” I thought to myself. Just then, as I was playing around with the crafting system, a jeep drove passed me! I had no idea this was even possible. The future was in front of me, and then behind me. My reaction was to run, and it worked.
It took a few deaths for me to get into the rhythm of the game. I learned to try random combinations of loot to discovery recipes and even met a friend along the way. H1Z1 feels very PvP heavy, but the element I feel the most enjoyment from is crafting. And, perhaps, that wouldn’t be such a good feeling if the PvP weren’t so challenging and frightening. I’m excited to continue along in my quest to survive the elements. What helps is having a friend that can help you out tactically. One morning I stumbled upon a police station that was loaded with guns and ammunition. Payday! I called my friend (Hank) on Skype and encouraged him to meet me. After a few minutes of waiting, I was shot point blank by another player that entered the police station. Let me tell you, this guy did not need anything that was there. Anyway, the next morning, Hank and I carefully approached and raided the police station. We took shifts watching the only entrance/exit into the armory while the other would loot body armor and weapons, such as handguns, shotguns and grenades. We then (less) carefully exited the town and found a good hiding place.
H1Z1 is certainly more about PvP than survival, and I think the story above illustrates that. The fact that within 30 minutes I was learning how to make metal brackets to having body armor and firearms shows this game is not for the faint of heart. I never knew I would like this genre but having a good friend to play with combined with the thrill of death has made H1Z1 a unique game in my library.